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Women and Trade: The Role of Trade in Promoting Women’s Equality

Research shows that trade creates better jobs for women. Companies that export employ more women, pay them higher wages, and offer better benefits and job security. Photo: © Khasar Sandag/IFC

Trade can dramatically improve women’s lives, creating new jobs, enhancing consumer choice, and increasing women’s bargaining power in society. But women’s relationship with trade is complex, as it can also lead to job losses and a concentration of work in lower-skilled jobs To ensure that trade enhances opportunities for everyone—regardless of gender—policymakers should assess the potential impact of trade rules on various groups of people and develop policy responses based on evidence.  

Research on gender equality and trade has been held back by limited data and a lack of understanding of the connections between the economic roles women play as workers, consumers, and decision makers. Building on new analysis and new sex-disaggregated data, this report aims to advance understanding on the relationship between trade and gender equality and to identify a series of opportunities through which women can gain from trade.

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Transparency Makes Central Banks More Effective and Trusted

July 30, 2020 - By Tobias AdrianGhiath Shabsigh, and Ashraf Khan

The role and mandates of central banks have become broader and more complex since the 2008 global financial crisis. The unconventional nature and growing scale of interventions (as seen again during the COVID-19 pandemic) have brought on much higher scrutiny. More transparency and accountability are required to maintain public support, safeguard independence, and enhance policy effectiveness.

The IMF has developed a Central Bank Transparency Code to help member countries answer these demands and increase trust and support. It aims to facilitate more effective communication between central banks and their various stakeholders, reducing uncertainty and contributing to better policy choices.

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Corruption and COVID-19

July28, 2020 - By Vitor GasparMartin Mühleisen, and Rhoda Weeks-Brown

Corruption, the abuse of public office for private gain, is about more than wasted money: it erodes the social contract and corrodes the government’s ability to help grow the economy in a way that benefits all citizens. Corruption was a problem before the crisis, but the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the importance of stronger governance for three reasons.

First, governments around the world are playing a bigger role in the economy to combat the pandemic and provide economic lifelines to people and firms. This expanded role is crucial but it also increases opportunities for corruption. To help ensure the money and measures are helping the people who need it most, governments need timely and transparent reporting, ex-post audits and accountability procedures, and close cooperation with civil society and the private sector.

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The COVID-19 Gender Gap

July 21, 2020 - By Kristalina GeorgievaStefania FabrizioCheng Hoon Lim, and Marina M. Tavares

The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to roll back gains in women’s economic opportunities, widening gender gaps that persist despite 30 years of progress.

Well-designed policies to foster recovery can mitigate the negative effects of the crisis on women and prevent further setbacks for gender equality. What is good for women is ultimately good for addressing income inequality, economic growth, and resilience.

Why has COVID-19 had disproportionate effects on women and their economic status? There are several reasons.

First, women are more likely than men to work in social sectors — such as services industries, retail, tourism, and hospitality — that require face-to-face interactions. These sectors are hit hardest by social distancing and mitigation measures. In the United States, unemployment among women was two percentage points higher than men between April-June 2020.

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Amid Multiple Crises, World Bank Group Refocuses Programs and Increases Financing to $74 billion in Fiscal Year 2020

WASHINGTON, July 10, 2020 – As people in developing countries around the world faced multiple crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank Group worked to respond quickly with technical and policy advice, and scaled up financing targeted to the poor and towards improving development outcomes. World Bank Group support rapidly adjusted to help countries fight the pandemic by focusing on four priorities: saving lives threatened by the pandemic; protecting the poor and vulnerable; securing the foundations of the economy to shorten the time to recovery; and strengthening policies and institutions for resilience based on transparent and sustainable debt and investments. To support these emergency programs, World Bank Group financing was significantly scaled up, reaching $74 billion in commitments.

Financing deployed, together with technical and policy advice and analytical support, is helping countries address health and economic impacts of the pandemic, maintaining countries’ private sector, aiding nations with food insecurity due to locust swarms in Africa and the Middle East, and combating widening inequality, among other key priorities.

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